As I mentioned here, I put in two Right To Know (RSA91:A) to the Brentwood Selectmen. The easier one was concerning the Code of Conduct issue that Brentwood Selectman Jon “Goober for Gobnor” used against fellow Selectman Bob Mantegori.
Pursuant to the Right to Know Law (RSA. 91-A), I am demanding access, within 5 business days, to the following governmental records: Selectmen Handbook / signed Code of Conduct / Ethics documents. Otherwise, in not within the mandated 5 business day window per RSA 91-A, please advise when the enumerated Responsive Records will be made available.
- An electronic copy (e.g., WORD, PDF) of the Brentwood Selectmen Handbook (or similarly named and themed document that was mentioned during a recent Selectmen’s Meeting by selectman Jon Morgan.
- Electronic copies of the signed Code of Conduct (e.g, commonly called “ethics” declarations and restrictions) that each of the current Selectmen have signed.
The existence of these two sets of documents was verbally disclosed during a recent Selectmen’s meeting by Selectmen Jon Morgan as he was berating Selectmen Robert Mantegari over a picture.
Per RSA 91-A:4 IV(c) If you deny any portion of this request, please cite the specific exemption used to justify the denial to make each record, or part thereof, available for inspection along with a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the information withheld.
As you are aware, in 2016, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that a governmental body in possession of records is required to produce them in electronic media using standard of common file formats: Green v. SAU #55, 168 N.H. 796, 801 (2016). Unless there is some reason that it is not reasonably practicable for you to produce these records in the requested format, I ask that you either do so or explain why it is not practicable for you to comply.
Please let me know when these records will be sent so me for inspection.
You may email the responsive records to me at Skip@GraniteGrok.com. If the volume is turns out to be substantial, I have already set up a Dropbox folder for all of your responsive records to which they can be uploaded
Thank you for your lawful attention to this matter.
While the entire Handbook is below, here is the Code of Conduct part (pages 11-12):
IV. SELECTMEN’S CODE OF CONDUCT
A. Selectmen’s Meetings
The following guidelines are presented as a list of suggestions for Selectmen to consider in order to facilitate the management of the Town:
(1) Be prepared for all meetings by reading the materials in advance of the meeting.
(2) Actively participate in all deliberations.
(3) Be respectful of differences of opinion. Treat others with dignity and attentiveness.
(4) Be fair and open-minded.
(5) Attend all meetings to the greatest extent possible; otherwise notify the Town Administrator of an impending absence prior to t he meeting.
(6) Demonstrate the characteristics of honesty, integrity, and positive role-model leadership.
(7) There should be no hesitation to express a viewpoint or present the opinions of concerned citizens.
(8) Research and requests for additional information are strongly encouraged, but it is suggested that the Town Administrator be utilized to process all inquiries from staff.
(9) Be attentive to the remarks of others during a meeting, including input received from members of the public, staff, and other Town Officials.
I’m not going to put up all of the parts but let me highlight a couple of things:
- “a list of suggestions“
When Jon Morgan was assailing Bob Mantegari about simply taking a picture during a Selectmen meeting and trying to strictly hold him to something as if it were a real stricture. What a putz he is!
- A. (3) Be respectful of differences of opinion. Treat others with dignity and attentiveness.
It was clear that MORGAN was not treating Mantegari with “dignity and attentiveness”. Instead, he was anything BUT showing “dignity” towards another Selectmen.
- B. (5) Do not cast blame for problems without having all the facts. In most instances it is better to steer conversations towards identification of problems and possible solutions rather than pointing fingers at individua ls who may have made mistakes.
The fact that I had to travel all the way down to Brentwood to correct the record SHOWS that Goober had his facts wrong. Or worse, didn’t care because he has a political agenda.
- B. (9) Keep in mind that the eyes of Brentwood are upon you. The things you say and do and the people you associate with are a reflection on your character as an official who is elected to represent the Brentwood community.
This was thrown at Montegari with impunity – Morgan and the other Democrats should have been looking into mirrors before opening their mouths.
- B. (10) Try to avoid being a player on either end of the rumor mill. Work towards earning (and keeping) a reputation for having integrity.
Indeed – Because I “brought the receipts” last night, it is Truth that Morgan was playing the rumor mill”. With both glee and abandon.
- C. (2) Communications between Selectmen during meetings or public events should always take into account a level of decorum that is commensurate with the position of elected leaders of the Town. Accordingly, it is expected that Selectmen will conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times; and that members of the Board can ultimately agree to disagree in the event of differences of opinion regardless of the circumstances or the intensity of feelings.
Decorum? Morgan, I’m betting, can hardly spell it much less practice it. Like many Democrats who can’t “argue” to save their lives, him accusing Mantegari of malfeasance has just shown himself to be the guilty one. There was NOTHING in the CoC above that precludes sharing a picture taken at a public meeting where this is NO expectation of privacy for ANYONE. Yet, that’s the very dubious angle, given the CoC that Morgan voluntarily signed, Goober tried to use.
We on the Right call this “Projection” – the deliberate action to call your enemy all of the things that you are doing yourself. Again, it was a “list of suggestions” but Morgan was trying to use it as a means to beat Mantgari into either getting on his knees to plead for forgiveness (for something that was perfectly fine) or quit in shame.
Up Yours, Goober! Consider yourself under a higher standard of watching. Seriously, Governor?
And here is one that I’m going to explore even more deeply:
- C. (3) All written communications between Selectmen may be considered public documents under the law. This includes emails and handwritten notes. Selectmen can be held personally (and financially) liable by a court for destruction of any such documents or willful violations of the Right to Know Law.
So, as far as the handbook is concerned, I had thought that there would be individual pages for each of the Selectmen. Instead, it seems that there was one Handbook that was signed by all of the Selectmen:
However, all of this satisfied my RTK. I have to say Thank You to Karen Clement, the Town Administrator, who turned this around in less than an afternoon. She will be starting in on the second RTK tomorrow (she said during last night’s meeting, so that will be today.